Survivor's Resource List

A deceased veteran’s survivors are entitled to a variety of benefits following the death of the veteran.

The spouse of a deceased veteran and their children, including children from a previous marriage, living in government quarters have the choice of either remaining in those quarters for up to one year or receiving a payment equal to up to one year of Basic Allowance for Housing or Overseas Housing Allowance (whichever is applicable) and relocating to private housing.  Eligibility for this benefit requires that the veteran was eligible to receive government quarters or housing allowance for his or her dependents at the time of death.  In most cases housing benefit decisions will be finalized within 7-14 days after notification of next of kin and the entitlement is 180 days and allows the combination of use of government quarters and/or allowances for private housing. 

Education Benefits and Scholarships

Educational benefits are offered to eligible spouses and children of veterans through the Dependents Educational Assistance Program.  This program allows for up to 45 months of education benefits which can be used for degree and certificate programs, apprenticeships, on the job training, correspondence courses for spouses and occasionally remedial, deficiency and refresher courses in approved circumstances.  There are many scholarships offered to the dependent survivors of veterans, most with a financial need but some without the financial limitation.  Many times these are offered as state benefits.  A VA local office or state college board will be able to assist you in finding if there is a scholarship that is right for you. 

Federal Employment Benefits

When seeking a federal or state job, surviving spouses who have not remarried and qualified mothers of deceased veterans are entitled to an additional 10 points on their earned grade for the Civil Service examination.  Often times they will also receive an advantage when appointment for a job is being decide and retention of the job should cuts need to be made. 

State Benefits

Veterans are eligible for a variety of state benefits that vary by state.  Survivors of these veterans may also be eligible to receive some of these benefits even after the death of the veteran.  State Veterans Commissions offers assistance in determining which benefits may apply to survivors of deceased veterans.  The following link lists veteran’s benefits by state:  Veteran state benefits

Social Security Benefits

Social Security Administration benefits are granted and paid through that agency and not by the military.  The Social Security office should be notified immediately of the veteran’s death so any long term benefits for the survivors can be established.  Upon the veteran’s death, a lump sum of $225 will be paid to the surviving spouse or children and monthly payments will be initiated dependent upon the length of employment and the time the veteran contributed through the Federal Insurance Contributions Act payroll deductions.  Claims applications can be obtained from a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer who will also help set an appointment to establish benefits.  If desired, this officer will accompany you to that appointment.  Claims for social security benefits are often settled 60-90 days after the Social Security office receives your claim.  The Social Security Administration can be contacted at (800) 772-1213 for any questions concerning benefits.

Unpaid Compensation

Upon the veteran’s death, there may be remaining compensation owed to that veteran in the form of remaining money in a servicemembers account, pay and allowances accumulated before the death of the veteran and unused leave due to the veteran on the date of death.  The Government will first take out the amount of any debt owed before paying out the compensation.  A Casualty Assistance Calls Officer will provide you with the claim form, Standard Form 1174, as well as help you complete the form to file a Claim for Unpaid Compensation of Deceased Members of the Uniformed Services.  Settlement of these claims usually happen within 60-90 days after the veteran’s death.  The compensation benefits are paid out to the designated beneficiary, if no beneficiary has been designated prior to death by the veteran, the compensation will be paid out in the following order of beneficiaries:

  • Surviving spouse
  • If no spouse, surviving children or their descendants in equal shares
  • If no children, parents of the veteran
  • If no parents, to the person appointed to represent the member’s estate
  • If no representative, according to state probate laws governing the servicemember’s estate

ID Cards

In order to continue to have access to military facilities and certain benefits such as commissary and exchange access, base theater and gym facilities and medical care at a government facility or civilian care facility with military benefits, you must obtain a new Uniformed Service Identification and Privilege Card that identifies the holder as an authorized patron to these facilities and services.  Your current ID cards expire on the date of death of the veteran and must be renewed within 30 days of the veteran’s death to continue to have access to these privileges.  Any dependent over the age of 10 is required to have a card.  A Casualty Assistance Call Officer can be contacted to make arrangements to take you to the nearest Real-Time Automated Personnel Identification System site or other military installation that issues ID cards. Be sure to bring with you the old ID card along with the DD Form 1300. 

Victims Assistance Program

Survivors of veterans who died by means of a criminal activity, as allowed by the Victim’s Rights and Restitution Act of 1990, may be eligible to receive state sponsored benefits such as financial assistance, loan programs, death gratuity, counseling services as well as other assistance benefits.  The survivors are also granted by this Act the right to information surrounding the criminal investigation, prosecution, incarceration, clemency actions and parole details of the person or persons responsible for the death of the veteran.  The Department of Defense, in line with this Act, created Victim and Witness Assistance Procedures with the purpose of assisting victims and survivors of victims to be aware of the benefits and information available to them within the military justice system.  The procedures also provide assistance in applying and obtaining benefits available to them in all states, in civilian jurisdictions.  Contact a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer to obtain further information regarding this program. 

List of Survivor Support

Losing a loved one is a very difficult situation.  Those family members of deceased veterans have a wide range of support groups and services available to help them through these difficult times.  The following is a list of grief support programs and resources.

  • The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
  • Bereaved Parents of the USA
  • Center for Loss and Life Transition
  • AARP Grief and Loss Programs
  • Aircraft Casualty Emotional Support Services (ACCESS)
  • The National Center for Grieving Children and Families
  • Compassionate Friends
  • Grief
  • The Centering Corporation
  • Parents of Murdered Children, Inc.
  • Sons and Daughters in Touch
  • Widow Net